Outstanding and rare 19th Century American shipyard diorama. The diorama features the building of a model of a three masted sailing vessel, featuring plank on frame construction with a natural wood finish. The deck and hull are constructed with thin wood planks individually fastened with tiny wood trennels to the hull frames and deck beams. The builder purposely left a section of about 6 planks in height open just above the keel running the length of the hull. This opening enables the viewer to see the frame construction behind the planks. The vessel is scaffolded on all sides with wood staging with wood planking. At the bow there are a pair of wood framed ramps leading up from the ground to top row of the wood staging. There are a variety of ladders around the hull site providing workers access to the vessel. Near the starboard bow is a deck mounted crane that is rigged to hoist building materials up to the deck. The deck is fully planked and the hatch openings are framed. There is a metal and brick-built oven mounted near the center of the deck. There are 17 carved and painted figures featured in the diorama. Sixteen men are working at various stations around the vessel. A group of four, formally dressed men with top hats and jackets are gathered around the blue prints, pointing towards the plans with their pointers. The other figures are informally attired and most wearing overalls. Closer to the stern are some figures working at a large work table with tools. Another figure is working at sharpening a blade at a large peddle driven sharpening wheel. There is an anchor mounted off the starboard bow and the rudder is fastened down on the ground behind the stern. The diorama is set onto a green painted base which slopes towards the stern. There is a small wood shed near the bow and a second structure near the upper right corner. This small framed house has a painted figure operating a crane from the second floor. The house has a wood stove chimney coming out of the front of the building. The boarder of the base of the diorama is framed with a natural mahogany frame three inches in height. This diorama is of the highest quality and despite its professional look and detail it still has an American folk art appeal.
Condition: The diorama is in excellent condition. It was recently cleaned and a few loose staging elements were re-glued. The diorama has an aged mellow patina.
Provenance: Property from the Westervelt Company, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Having been purchased and given by Jack Warner to his company.
Jack Warner a pioneer collector and appreciator of American art, he was awarded the Frederic Edwin Church award in 2010 for assembling one of the greatest private collections of American art, including hundreds of paintings, furniture, and decorative art objects representing masterpieces of American art from the 18th century through the early decades of the 20th century. His achievement was also recognized in 2011 by the naming of the newly opened Jack and Susan Warner Hudson River Gallery in the Metropolitan Museum of American Art in New York. His remarkable collection of highly significant American paintings, neoclassical furniture, sculpture and decorative arts was displayed and operated by his Foundation in the Westervelt Warner Museum of American Art from 2002 until 2011 where it attracted thousands of visitors to Tuscaloosa each year and enhanced the educational opportunities for children and the community. His art included works by Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt, Asher B. Durand, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth and many others. Jack Warner was also an enthusiastic collector of nautical antiques. In 1978 he created The North River Yacht Club and “this model” and many of his fine nautical antiques were exhibited at the Club House.
Dimensions: Length 82 3/8, Width 16 ¼, Height 15 inches.